PB Review: WE WILL ROCK OUR CLASSMATES

Posted October 15, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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We Will Rock Our Classmates

Penelope T. rex tends to stand out in a group. Penelope is a dinosaur. Her classmates only see her as a dinosaur, but Penelope is much more than that. She loves all sorts of things, but most of all she loves to play rock ‘n’ roll music on her guitar. Penelope signs up for the school talent show, but she’s nervous. At rehearsal, Penelope freezes and thinks maybe dinosaurs can’t play rock ‘n’ roll. She crosses her name off the list and is resigned to being just a dinosaur. Daddy T. rex steps in and shows Penelope pictures of all the accomplishments by her family and encourages her “to be anything you want to be.” The next day at school, Penelope almost loses her courage to sign up again until a few of her friends ask if they can be in her band. On the night of the talent show, Penelope is as nervous as ever, but she remembers what Daddy T. rex told her and she becomes a rock star. We Will Rock Our Classmates is written and illustrated by the talented Ryan T. Higgins who also wrote the hysterical We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. His newest book doesn’t disappoint. Clever lines referring to dinosaurs and amusing illustrations will keep kids and adults laughing with each page turn.     

PB Review: SOAKED!

Posted October 8, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

Tags: , , , ,

Soaked!

It’s raining and Bear and his friends are not happy. Bear, a bit of a grump, finds nothing is fun in the rain. He and his friends retreat to Bear’s cave, but Hula-Hooping Moose is taking up too much room playing with his hula- hoop. Back outside in the rain, Bear wants his umbrella, but it’s missing so he grumps on his log. All the while, Hula-Hooping Moose entertains himself with his hula hoop until it lands in the branches of a tree. Bear, Badger, and Rabbit manage to build an animal tower to retrieve it, but they topple to the ground with the hula hoop. The friends encourage Bear to give it a try. He is surprised how much fun hula-hooping, splashing in rain puddles, and getting Soaked! with his friends can be. When the rain stops, what do you think happens? You’ll have to read this hilarious book written and illustrated by Abi Cushman. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.

Behind the Scene Superheroes

Posted October 1, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, each day is a challenge for numerous reasons. As a retired educator and grandparent to three active girls, I worry about the education of our young children.

How often have we heard that too much screen time is not healthy for our children? Quality versus quantity does make a difference, but how much should a five-year-old be exposed to the screen in a remote school versus an in-school learning situation? What about socialization?

Parents have a huge job – working, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and creating a healthy family environment. With the arrival of the pandemic, a new job has been added to the family dynamics – teaching. Along came the need for remote learning workspaces, guidance to keep young children on task, and help with completing assigned work. Because of social distancing on buses, some parents now have to get their kids to and from school on in-school days.

At-home Projects
Workspaces
Lunches
Backpacks and Masks
Drop Off/Pick Up

I’ve seen my daughter and son-in-law stressed not only with work but also by the new rules for my twin granddaughters’ kindergarten in the hybrid learning situation. I’ve seen my youngest granddaughter thrilled to go back to preschool only to have it closed until further notice because a teacher was exposed to COVID-19. I’ve seen the endless emails that pop up daily that parents must read and follow.

My twin granddaughters are in two different kindergarten classrooms. That means double emails Other parents with children in different schools have different rules and different starting times. The list is endless. It takes a superhero to handle it all!

Our superheroes are parents, extended family, and teachers who have families of their own to deal with. I want to applaud all those who strive to help children to be the best they can be – especially during this pandemic. All is not well with the world right now, but with hope, our superheroes will make the world a better place for our children!

Postscript:

Please don’t ask me how my granddaughters and I fared on the first day of remote learning. I think I flunked kindergarten!

Be gone COVID-19! Let the school doors open and stay open – full time.

PB Review: Swashby and the Sea

Posted September 24, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Swashby and the Sea

Captain Swashby and the sea have always been best friends. When Swashby retires, it is in a small house on a small beach by the sea. It is quiet and serene just as Swashby likes it. When a young girl and her granny move in next door, Swashby’s world is disrupted, and he is not one bit happy. He writes messages in the sand to discourage the girl and her granny, “which the sea fiddled with, just a bit.” Instead, the new message left by the sea encourages the young girl to sing, to make a wish, and to play. That disgruntles Swashby even more. But when the young girl finds herself in trouble, Swashby is the first one there to save her. There is no way for him to stop the thank yous, the hugs, and the celebration by the sea given by the young girl and her granny. With a little fiddling by the sea, Swashby becomes a true friend and neighbor. Beth Ferry has written a charming story of intergenerational friendship with delightful seaside illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner, Juana Martinez-Neal.

A Race to the Finish Line

Posted September 17, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

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As of September tenth, my summer blog break ended with a review of Janet Halfmann’s A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch! The week before that I popped in early with a review of Artie Bennett’s The True Story of Zippy Chippy:  The Little Horse that Couldn’t to coincide with the  Kentucky Derby the following Saturday. Artie Bennett’s book was a perfect segue into the Kentucky Derby Party hosted by my daughter. Originally, it was for her colleagues, but it was postponed when COVID-19 changed the normalcy of our lives.

When the derby was moved to Labor Day Weekend, my daughter decided to have the party she had planned, keeping the invitees within her bubble. That meant her immediate family and Mimi and Poppy. That’s what my husband and I are called.

Enter the Derby Hall – Hats and Bow Ties of Your Choice

Even Doris Chose Her Hat

We usually stay one night when we visit, but because it was also Labor Day Weekend, we stayed three nights. It’s a good thing Ben Franklin wasn’t there to remind us that “fish and visitors stink after three days.”

We didn’t stink like fish. It was more like Kentucky bourbon! Almost every recipe had bourbon in it. We had a wonderful weekend filled with fun and food all planned and made by my daughter with a little help from my granddaughters and me. Derby Day was fabulous! It was a perfect day to relax and escape the worries the world has handed us.

Food for All

A recent birthday made me another year older. 2020 has not been my most favorite year, but I am thankful for my family bubble and our Zoom meetings with other family and friends spread across the country. I hope that a viable vaccine is found soon for everyone’s sake. My wish is that we all learn to live, love, and support one another and make our race to the finish line a success!

PB Review: A BOBBY-DAZZLER OF A POUCH!

Posted September 10, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Over the years, Janet Halfmann’s books have always created a sense of wonder in me. Her newest book, A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch! is sure to become a favorite.

Joey, a young kangaroo, practices diving into his mum’s pouch. It’s easy when it’s just he and his mum, but when there are other kangaroos around, Joey has a problem. When Mum calls, Joey doesn’t always find the right pouch. Boing! Boing! Boing! He dives into a pouch that’s already full. Boing! Boing! Boing! He dives into a male kangaroo who doesn’t even have a pouch!

Joey is discouraged, but when he sees Willy Wagtail, he comes up with an idea. Joey asks if he can have some tail feathers to put on his mum’s pouch to make it easier to find. Willy Wagtail agrees, and suddenly Rainbow Lorikeet, Echidna, and the Emu Family want to add something to decorate the pouch. Joey and his mum work together to arrange the decorations, but as Joey climbs into the pouch to sleep, he wishes they had MORE decorations. Koala overhears Joey. Even though Mum would rather not have anything more added, Koala, Sugar Glider, Brush-Tailed Possum, and Wombat all add something special. Joey declares Mum’s pouch a “bobby-dazzler.”

The next morning while Joey is playing, he hears his mum frantically calling him. A dingo is on the prowl! Because of Mum’s bobby-dazzler pouch, Joey knows exactly where to find her. Abira Das‘ adorable illustrations accompany Janet Halfmann’s delightful story. A variety of Australian animals, plants, and words are introduced as are the themes of a loving mother-child relationship, friendship, and creativity. This book is sure to entertain young readers with each page turn. The back matter includes Fun Kangaroo Facts and a glossary of Australian terms which help make reading this book a truly enjoyable experience. 

Bobby Dazzler Cover Back copy

 

Can you create a bobby-dazzler of an idea?

 

 

 

And They’re Off!

Posted September 3, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Nonfiction Picture Books

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On Saturday, September 5th, the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby will take place at Churchill Downs. The thoroughbreds will be at their finest. This year, spectators will gather around TVs to cheer on their favorite horse, hoping it will win.

In honor of the Kentucky Derby, I give you the story of another thoroughbred, descended from legendary bloodlines, that ran in many well-known races. The True Story of Zippy Chippy:  The Little Horse that Couldn’t is artfully told by Artie Bennett with playful illustrations by Dave Szalay. With all the characteristics of a prize-winning thoroughbred, Zippy Chippy could have won fame as a top contender in racing. The fact that Zippy had a mind of his own proved to be a deterrent in running a race. His owner never knew what Zippy would do. When racing at Belmont Park where the Belmont Stakes take place, Zippy stopped in the middle of the track to take in the smells of the day. He stuck out his tongue at people, chewed on people’s hats, bit other horses. After nineteen straight losses, Zippy’s owner sold him to a horse trainer, Felix Monserrate, who was determined to make Zippy a winner. Felix quickly realized Zippy was big trouble. He bit Felix, bucked off his riders, and broke out of his stall. Because of Zippy’s bad behavior, Zippy was banned from top race tracks. After losing seventy straight races and refusing to leave the starting gate after three tries, Zippy was forbidden from racing at all race tracks. Felix didn’t give up on Zippy. He found a race track that was willing to let Zippy race, but Zippy continued to lose. In an odd reversal, spectators began to take notice of Zippy and cheer him on – even betting on him to win! Zippy’s career ended with zero wins and one-hundred losses! Artie Bennett wasn’t horsing around when he wrote about this delightfully mischievous horse. Using clever wordplay, humor, and heartfelt feelings, this book will appeal to animal lovers everywhere.

We can’t all be winners, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be loved and admired!

Summer Blog Break

Posted July 30, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Life and Family

Tags: , ,

It’s that time of year!

I interrupt this blog for breaking news. “Humor Me” is taking a summer blog break to relax and celebrate August birthdays and anniversaries. Look for the next post on September 10th when this blog returns to inform and entertain the masses!

Summer Blog Break

Keep on reading!

Friday Is National Drive-Thru Day!

Posted July 23, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Special Days

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Have you ever been through a drive-thru? Fast food? Dry cleaners? Bank? On July 24th, we celebrate National Drive-Thru Day.

With the COVID-19 pandemic surrounding us everywhere, drive-thrus and curbside pickups are a blessing. Drive up, get your groceries, your morning coffee, your evening meal, your library books, your prescriptions. Getting married? Plan a drive-thru wedding in Las Vegas! Lucky for us, all of these activities can be done without having to come in contact with a crowd of people.

Drive-thrus have been around since the 1930s. How many of you knew that?

Here are some fun facts about drive-thrus.

  • The first drive-thru was a bank in Syracuse, NY in 1928.
  • In-N Out Burger on the West Coast opened as a drive-thru in 1948. It’s the longest-running drive-thru in the U.S.
  • The first drive-thru burger chain was Jack in the Box established in 1951. At that time, it was drive-thru service only.

If you’re bored with staying at home, get into your car, put on your mask, and choose one of the many drive-thurs that are available and celebrate National Drive-Thru Day!

Check this out!

ddrive through

Drive-Thru Dreams: A Journey Through the Heart of America’s Fast-Food Kingdom by Adam Chandler, Flatiron Books, 2019.

Hello Hello – Picture Book Review

Posted July 16, 2020 by Cathy Ogren
Categories: Picture Book Review

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Hello Hello! Welcome, welcome to an exotic collection of animals of all shapes and sizes. Brendan Wenzel has written and illustrated a fascinating book depicting the similarities and differences between animals.

hello

In spare rhyming text, the author introduces readers to a variety of animals. Some are small. Some are large. Some are brightly colored. Some are not. There are animals with patterns, animals with unique body parts, animals that are loud, and animals that are quiet. The illustrations are bold and bright rendered in a combination of cut paper, colored pencil, oil pastels, marker, and computer. The animals included in the book are favorites of Brenden Wenzel. Readers will delight in his illustrations and how he gives each animal a personality of its own. At the end of the book, Wenzel lists all the animals, noting which ones are endangered, critically endangered, threatened, near threatened, and vulnerable. This is a joyous book that celebrates the natural world of animals. The author note encourages readers to become familiar with the animals and let others know about them and how they can help keep these animals safe. Enjoy. Enjoy.


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